They traditionally deal in steel, but since the beginning of the year, a Jackson scrap metal recycling company has been in the fashion business. Amongst the mountains of rebar and heaps of cans at Tri-Miss Services they now keep boxes-and-boxes of used clothes at their scrap yard on Woodrow Wilson Avenue.
In addition to aluminum and iron they have been taking anything from dress shirts-to jeans-to-tennis shoes. Tri-Miss metal buyer Brendan McClelland said they decided to expand their services to include clothes, because too much is being thrown away.
"Plenty of good clothing that you get rid off and it just makes no sense putting it in landfills," McClelland said.
While the idea for clothing recycling is common at consignment or thrift shops, McClelland says with the amount of clothing dumped in the garbage there is room for them in the industry.
"80 percent of clothing goes into the landfill," McClelland said. "The best thing about clothing is we all own it, we always want to buy more of it and we always to get rid of our clothing."
Tri-Miss' bet on the profitability of recycled clothing is showing promise. McClelland said they have collected 250,000 pounds in three months, which is on pace with their aluminum collections.
When it comes to used clothing they do have to be picky though.
In other words, spare them the socks and underwear. They also can not accept fiber-filled items, such as insulated jackets or comforters.
From the scrap yard, some one will pay them for what they collect, then that vendor will sort the threads to be made available elsewhere.
"Send it directly overseas, whether to Africa, to South America or eastern Europe," McClelland said.
Tri-Miss started in 1985 with just their Jackson recycling center. McClelland says it is this type of forward-thinking that has allowed Tri-Miss to grow to 11 scrap yards throughout Mississippi.
They have yards all over the state including Crystal Springs, Meridian, Vicksburg and Brookhaven.
Tri-Miss hopes to use their clothing recycling program to promote charity and fund-raising. When you donate clothes, instead of taking cash for your donation Tri-Miss can cut a check to the charity, school or organization of your choice.